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District Attorney lays out Oregon's rules for salvaging roadkill meat

Klamath County District Attorney Eve Costello laid down the laws for collecting deer and elk that have been struck by vehicles.

Posted: Jan 24, 2020 5:33 PM
Updated: Jan 24, 2020 5:43 PM

KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. — It's been a little over one year since Oregon changed the rules to allow the legal salvaging of roadkill — a prospect about which a surprising number of Oregonians are enthusiastic. However, like anything else involving government rules and regulations, it's not as simple as it sounds.

On Friday, Klamath County District Attorney Eve Costello came out with an informative (and frank) fact sheet detailing the do's and don'ts of roadkill recovery.

Because it stands so well on its own, Costello's statement will be detailed below, in her words, for anyone curious how to go about eating roadkill the right way:


Road Kill Salvage Rules

Hey all, it's been a year since it became legal in Oregon to harvest/salvage meat from deer and elk that are hit on the road. Over here on the East side, we have many who enjoy game meat and are saddened by the loss of animals due to road collisions. But, there are rules, rules and regulations, par for the course, by which you must abide (kind of like the Dude).

First thing, you may ONLY salvage deer and elk, no other animal. Further, white tail deer are limited to salvaging in Douglas County and east of the crest of the Cascade Mountains due to their protected status.

If you come upon an elk or deer that has been struck and killed, here is the process you must undertake to be legal. You must apply for a permit and submit the permit within 24 hours of salvaging the deer or elk. These are available free online but should not be completed until you are actually salvaging an animal as specific information about location and time of salvage is required.

Now, the process:

  • You observe an accidentally (not purposely) killed deer or elk with antlers attached you may salvage the carcass for human consumption.
  • Animals with antlers removed or unable to be located at the scene of the accident may not be salvaged.
  • lntentionally killing an elk, deer or other animal with an automobile or out of compliance with hunting regulations remains criminal.
  • You must remove the entire carcass of the animal, including the gut piles from the road and road right of way during the salvage.
  • You MUST fill out a salvage permit available online and print it to sign within 24 hours of the salvage process.
  • You MUST take the entire head of the deer or elk, including the antlers of antlered animals, to an ODFW (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) field office within five business days of taking possession of the carcass where they will be surrendered. CALL AHEAD TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT. As the permittee, you may keep other parts of the animal such as the hide. Locally, Miller lsland may be contacted at 541-883-5732.
  • Any person (not just the driver who struck the animal) may salvage a deer or elk killed by a vehicle.
  • lf the deer or elk is struck, injured and then humanely dispatched to alleviate suffering, law enforcement must be immediately notified in compliance with ORS 498.016 (*OSP on cell phone or 1-800-442-2068).
  • lf you salvage a deer or elk you consume the meat at your own risk. ODFW/OSP shall not perform game meat inspection on any animal salvaged under these rules.
  • The State of Oregon is not liable for any loss or damage arising from the recovery, possession, use, transport or consumption of deer or elk salvaged.
  • Sale of any part of the salvaged animal is prohibited, but transfer to another person can occur with a written record locatable [here].

I hope that assists all of you interested in saving a valuable resource tragically killed on our roads. Remember, be careful when salvaging, do not obstruct traffic nor place yourself, your passengers or other automobile users at risk.

On that topic, please, please drive safely. Drive the speed limit and do not use your cell phones nor pay attention to things other than your driving. Klamath County is undergoing a traffic safety study and preliminary data show both speed and distracted driving as the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents leading to death or serious physical injury. Traffic fatalities and injuries are preventable the majority of the time.

Life is precious. Please pay attention to bit of down time observe the beauty of our county and enjoy a bit of down time.

In Service

Eve Costello

Klamath County District Attorney

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